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Author Topic: Puerto Rican Bees  (Read 640 times)

Offline Dustymunky

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Puerto Rican Bees
« on: April 29, 2018, 05:11:03 pm »
I?ve seen recent stories that claim honey bees in Puerto Rico are mite resistant,  Africanized honey bees that took over the island.  These bees were aggressive initially like typical africanized bees. Over years of culling queens from aggressive hives and possibly some other unknown mechanisms, the bees are now workable and gentle. DNA tests have been performed and the bees still have african genetics.

This is amazing news to me, keeping the mite resistance but losing the aggression of africanized bees. The news I?ve found on the web wasn?t super in depth. I wonder how these bees perform well and if they could eventually be exported.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 07:32:47 pm »
A story too good to be true.  Just saying, it doesn't usually happen that way.
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Offline moebees

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 08:49:32 pm »
Its absolutely true and not a new story.  No one knows exactly why it has happened but theories revolve around the climate of the Island.  The colonies have a higher percentage of foragers and lower percentage of guard bees than African colonies elsewhere.  This may be a result of the lack of forage during the dry season and because it is an island they cannot leave.  If it is true that their lack of aggression is due to the unique environment of Puerto Rico then they may return to aggression if they are moved elsewhere.
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Online Dallasbeek

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 09:41:11 pm »
"...because it is an island they cannot leave."

And they know this how?  Is that like they don't want to sting you because if they do they will die?  They learn it in bee kindergarden?
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Online Dallasbeek

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 09:48:15 pm »
No offense intended, Moe.  Just pointing out how we attribute to honeybees maybe greater understanding than they can possess.  They are amazing insects, but they don't have superior intellectual powers.  Or do they?  Read "Honebee Democracy" and it makes one wonder.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Dustymunky

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 11:49:12 pm »
Its amazing how fast honeybees can adapt to their environment.  I would guess there are mechanisms at play that we dont understand.  Carniolan bees adapted in Russia over only a few hundred years to survive varroa.  I wonder if there is something other than genetics at play.  Like how a cat knows to bathe itself or a labrador must chase that ball.

Offline moebees

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 12:12:03 am »
No offense taken Dallasbeek because I don't understand your point. How did you get from what I said that I am attributing any type of understanding?  As a biologist I can assure you that animals adjust their behavior to their environment and Scientists have measured the proportion of foragers in these colonies and found that it is higher than other african bees.  They can't leave the island BECAUSE IT'S AN ISLAND!

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Offline moebees

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 12:20:30 am »
Its amazing how fast honeybees can adapt to their environment.  I would guess there are mechanisms at play that we dont understand. 

Yeah I'd say you don't hang around for 100 million years and cover a range larger than practically every other insect without be pretty adaptable.  :grin:
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Offline beepro

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 03:13:30 am »
If you intend to keep these bees in an AHB area later on then their aggressive genetics will revert back.
Once their genetics combine again you cannot get rid of their behaviors.   Maybe their genetics will be diluted if you
keep then away from the AHB area. 

Offline Dustymunky

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 09:05:21 pm »
These bees are still AHB even though they are gentle. You can guess that they will revert back to being more aggressive if introduced back to other AHB areas but thats only a guess. I could see the value of Puerto Rico becoming a major queen breeding area and exporting these queens for sale to parts of the south that have AHB problems. Who knows if the aggressive trait or the gentle trait is dominant. Constantly requeening in AHB areas with european queens seems to be the answer now but its an uphill battle. Interesting discussion but Im sure there are many legal hurdles preventing this from happening.

Offline moebees

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 11:24:35 pm »
These bees are still AHB even though they are gentle. You can guess that they will revert back to being more aggressive if introduced back to other AHB areas but thats only a guess. I could see the value of Puerto Rico becoming a major queen breeding area and exporting these queens for sale to parts of the south that have AHB problems. Who knows if the aggressive trait or the gentle trait is dominant. Constantly requeening in AHB areas with european queens seems to be the answer now but its an uphill battle. Interesting discussion but Im sure there are many legal hurdles preventing this from happening.

I believe the US has not allowed the importation of bees for a long time now.  You would have to bring in semen and even that would be difficult given they are AHB.  More important than making other AHB gentle is their value in fighting Varroa.  You are correct Dusty.  If they would allow importation the PR could become an instant queen breeding dynamo for Varroa resistant stock.  More research is needed.
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Offline herbhome

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2018, 12:12:24 am »
I'm not aquainted with the actual law on the US importation ban but PR is a US territory so perhaps there is a workaround therein. Technically it would not be an importation.
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Offline cao

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2018, 01:07:57 am »
Reguardless of the laws or the benefits of resistant stock, I think that the headline would read something like "U.S. imports African(killer) Bees".  I think that the PR would be more of a problem than any laws.

Offline moebees

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2018, 01:34:41 am »
I'm not aquainted with the actual law on the US importation ban but PR is a US territory so perhaps there is a workaround therein. Technically it would not be an importation.

You are correct on that although we don't always treat PR like it is part of the US.  I don't know how USDA views it.  Whether it would be allowed or not.  But I still think more research needs to be done. 
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Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2018, 06:12:02 am »




I believe the US has not allowed the importation of bees for a long time now. 

Last I knew Puerto Rico was a US territory.  As long as a US built ship operated by a US shipping company transport them to comply with the stupid Jones act wouldn't that get around the import ban? On a side note I think Hawaii does a lot of air shipping to get around the Jones act.

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Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Puerto Rican Bees
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2018, 06:13:29 am »
I guess I should have read the rest of the thread before I posted.

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All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns; that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party. ---Mao Tse Tung

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. ---Benjamin Franklin